The crew is heading to Florida in Nocterra #10, and given the state of Florida today one can imagine it’s not great when the sun is blotted out either. Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel continue their series where the sky is dark and most living things have been turned into monstrous Shades. Our heroes are heading to one of the brightest places left on the planet and they’ve got Blacktop Bill tied up and ready as a secret weapon.
This issue opens with Piper having the best dream, but waking to realize her friends have turned into monsters. Dozing off on the way to Luna, the crew aims to infiltrate a base that creates monsters like Blacktop Bill. This issue has a heist feel as the crew must figure out how to break into a base that seems impenetrable with the hope of some answers once they get in.
This issue continues to set up a hell of a big battle. Adam is toying with a helmet that supposedly lets you talk to Shades while Blacktop Bill is turning out to be a man in a corner with no friends. Or, maybe he’s building some with the main characters. The final few pages build towards a moment that’ll make folks rush to the comics shop next month. It’s becoming pretty clear Snyder is one of the best writers when it comes to raising stakes and you can see that here.
The lore and worldbuilding are fleshed out well in this issue as well, expanding on what we know. There isn’t a huge dump of exposition either, but it’s sprinkled throughout. The general design of Luna also helps build a sci-fi futuristic world worth exploring. Props to Daniel and color artist Marcello Maiolo for making it look like a sun sitting on the water. One can see there are key pieces that can carry the Nocterra story forward.
Daniel draws monsters and the matte black of Blacktop Bill. It’s a smart design in itself — only his mouth is visible when he shines those pearly whites, giving him an ominous and creepy look and feel. The facilities inside Luna are also well crafted. There’s an awkward pose here or there though, like when Piper holds a gun. In general, the story flows well visually.
Piper is the strongest character in this issue, in part because she opens the issue and plays a major part in the final scenes. Given how big this cast is though, a lot of these characters end up being absent or underwritten. Val seems one-note who talks tough. Stretching out the story over more issues, or giving this issue more pages, might have allowed the break-in into Luna more interesting with character interactions.
Nocterra #10 is a good setup issue before a major showdown to wrap up the story arc. Our heroes have to overcome obstacles in a series that continues to flesh out a larger world worth exploring.
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